THE ANALYSIS IN CHAPTER 1 WAS based on the logical implications of the assumption of action, and its results hold true for all human action. The application of these principles was confined, however, to “Crusoe economics,” where the actions of isolated individuals are considered by themselves. In these situations, there are no interactions between persons. Thus, the analysis could easily and directly be applied to n number of isolated Crusoes on n islands or other isolated areas.
A common complaint is that the free market would not insure the elimination of poverty, that it would “leave people free to starve,” and that it is far better to be “kindhearted” and give “charity” free rein by taxing the rest of the populace in order to subsidize the poor and the substandard.
It is reasonable to begin human history five million years ago, when the human line of evolutionary descent separated from that of our closest nonhuman relative, the chimpanzee. It is also reasonable to begin it 2.5 million years ago, with the first appearance of homo habilis; or 200,000 years ago, when the first representative of “anatomically modern man” made its appearance; or 100,000 years ago, when the anatomically modern man had become the standard human form.
Liberalism is a doctrine directed entirely towards the conduct of men in this world. In the last analysis, it has nothing else in view than the advancement of their outward, material welfare and does not concern itself directly with their inner, spiritual and metaphysical needs.
Liberalism is usually reproached, besides, for being rationalistic. It wants to regulate everything reasonably and thus fails to recognize that in human affairs great latitude is, and, indeed, must be, given to feelings and to the irrational generally—i.e., to what is unreasonable.
The champions of democracy in the eighteenth century argued that only monarchs and their ministers are morally depraved, injudicious, and evil. The people, however, are altogether good, pure, and noble, and have, besides, the intellectual gifts needed in order always to know and to do what is right. This is, of course, all nonsense, no less so than the flattery of the courtiers who ascribed all good and noble qualities to their princes.
The most powerful force in the policies of our age is Karl Marx. The rulers of the many hundreds of millions of comrades in the Communist countries behind the Iron Curtain pretend to put into effect the teachings of Marx; they consider themselves as the executors of the testament of Marx.
The clearer it had to become in the course of the war that the Central Powers were bound to be finally defeated in the war of starving out, the more energetically were references made from various sides to the necessity of preparing better for the next war. The economy would have to be reshaped in such a way that Germany would be capable of withstanding even a war of several years.
At last to the detailed explanation of the meaning of this bottom-up revolutionary strategy. For this, let me turn to my earlier remarks about the defensive use of democracy, that is, the use of democratic means for non-democratic, libertarian pro-private property ends. Two preliminary insights I have already reached here.
According to Deumer, banks presently serve private interests. They serve public interests only inasmuch as these do not conflict with the former. Banks do not finance those enterprises that are most essential from the national point of view, but only those that promise to yield the highest return.
Nowadays, the thesis is maintained that sound monetary relationships may certainly be worth striving for, but public policy is said to have other higher and more important goals. As serious an evil as inflation is, it is not considered the most serious. If it is a choice of protecting the homeland from enemies, feeding the starving and keeping the country from destruction, then let the currency go to rack and ruin. And if the German people must pay off a tremendous war debt, then the only way they can help themselves is through inflation.
Marxism sees the coming of socialism as an inescapable necessity. Even if one were willing to grant the correctness of this opinion, one still would by no means be bound to embrace socialism. It may be that despite everything we cannot escape socialism, yet whoever considers it an evil must not wish it onward for that reason and seek to hasten its arrival; on the contrary, he would have the moral duty to do everything to postpone it as long as possible. No person can escape death; yet the recognition of this necessity certainly does not force us to bring about death as quickly as possible.
Most of our contemporaries are highly critical of what they call “the unequal distribution of wealth.” As they see it, justice would require a state of affairs under which nobody enjoys what are to be considered superfluous luxuries as long as other people lack things necessary for the preservation of life, health, and cheerfulness.